(ATR)The 2015 European Games are fewer than 100 days away and human rights campaigners are ramping up pressure for change in Azerbaijan.
Baku, Azerbaijan will stage the inaugural event June 12-28.
"Human Rights Watch has worked in Azerbaijan for over 25 years," Jane Buchanan,associate director of the organization's Europe and Central Asia division, tells Around the Rings.
"Over recent years in particular, the government has taken a number of measures to really restrict the ability of media and independent voices to operate freely in Azerbaijan."
"The European Games present a unique moment for Azerbaijan's partners to insist that the government, as part of hosting Games, respect the principles of the Olympic Movement including press freedom," Buchanan adds.
The Sport and Rights Alliance, a recently formed coalition including groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, sent a letter to the president of the European Olympic Committees this week highlighting striking issues between the Azerbaijani government and the media.
The SRA writes that Reporters Without Borders ranked Azerbaijan 162nd out of 180 countries surveyed in its ranking of press freedom, singling out the country as "Europe's biggest prison for news providers."
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